Massive Wildfire in Bromo National Park Sparks Billions in Potential Losses

Massive Wildfire in Bromo National Park Sparks Billions in Potential Losses (photo: ANTARA FOTO - Irfan Sumanjaya)

The recent wildfire that ravaged the savanna area of Teletubbies Hill in the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, East Java, on September 6, 2023, has left a lasting and detrimental impact. This massive blaze, ignited by flares, is anticipated to result in substantial financial losses for the country, reaching into the billions of rupiah.

This revelation has come to light courtesy of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy (Kemenparekraf). Nia Niscaya, an expert in Tourism and Creative Economy at Kemenparekraf, has indicated that the Deputy for Strategic Policy at Kemenparekraf is currently engaged in an in-depth study to assess the extent of the losses incurred by the nation. While the comprehensive analysis is ongoing, initial estimates suggest that the losses could potentially reach an alarming 40 percent.

Delving into the specifics, Nia revealed that when examining the statistical data from 2022, the Non-Tax State Revenue (PNBP) in the affected area within the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park (TNBTS) amounted to approximately Rp 11.65 billion.

Based on economic analyses, the devastating wildfire event, which brought tourism and creative economy activities to a halt, may lead to a substantial decrease in PNBP, potentially ranging from 30 to 40 percent.

Beyond these monetary concerns, Nia also underscored the adverse repercussions on the local tourism industry. The closure of the TNBTS tourism site has led to an astonishing 80 percent decline in hotel room occupancy rates. This downturn in the accommodation sector has inevitably rippled through the culinary and services industries in the surrounding vicinity, compounding the economic toll.

The genesis of this catastrophic fire traces back to the use of five smoke flares employed as props for a pre-wedding photoshoot involving a couple from Surabaya, East Java, conducted within the savanna area of Teletubbies Hill on Mount Bromo.

The incident unfolded when one of these flares failed to ignite as intended, resulting in an explosive discharge. This triggered sparks that rapidly engulfed the savanna, culminating in a large-scale fire that ultimately consumed a staggering 50 hectares of land.

In the wake of this calamity, the Probolinggo Police have taken decisive action by identifying a key suspect in the case: the manager of the wedding organizing team hailing from Lumajang, known as AW (aged 41). AW faces legal charges, primarily due to the absence of a Conservation Area Entry Permit (Simaksi).

Consequently, AW is being charged under the provisions of Article 50, paragraph 3, letter D of Law number 41 of 1999 concerning Forestry, as further amended by Article 50, paragraph 2, letter b of Law number 6 of 2023, pertaining to the enactment of Government Regulation as a Law of the Republic of Indonesia number 2 of 2022 concerning Job Creation. Additionally, Article 188 of the Criminal Code is also invoked in the legal proceedings against AW.

Following the devastating wildfire that prompted its closure on September 6, 2023, Bromo Mountain’s tourism operations have been officially reopened. This reopening, effective as of Tuesday, September 19, commenced at 00:01 WIB.

Septi Eka Wardhani, who serves as the Head of the Administrative Division at the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park (BB TNBTS), provided details regarding the reopening plan. She confirmed that visitors to Bromo Mountain will have access through four entry points: Coban Trisula in Malang Regency, Wonokitri in Pasuruan Regency, Cemorolawang in Probolinggo Regency, and Senduro in Lumajang Regency, ensuring a smooth and regulated resumption of tourism activities.